Arsenal Part 1 – #FM20 OS8 C2 S4 – Part 73 – Dundalk – February 2026

The Emirates Stadium, London – Capacity 60,704

Welcome back for the start of the 2026 season here in Louth. And it’s a quick start. Even-Numbered years give Irish clubs the added problem of not being able to play for a month from early June.

Just the 2 Premier Division games, a couple of cup, one the Irish equivalent of the Community Shield and the biggie, the trip to London N7 to play Arsenal in the UCL 1st Knockout Round 1st Leg.

We start straight away – New-boys Athlone at theirs.

13th February 2026 – Athlone Town (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Athlone Town 0 Dundalk 2 (McGarvey 16, O’Malley 30) Att 623 (365 Away)

The two richest teams in the league play this evening. German sugar-daddy Marvin Schneider pumping in the money. They are 7th in the IPD Season Preview. I’ve only got 3 non-newgens in my starting eleven this evening. We have a few chances early and open our account for the season in the 16th minute, Captain Colin McGarvey with a smart finish after being played in by Stevie Moore – a lovely little 9-iron over the top. We make it 2-0 in the 30th minute, a lovely move down the left, started by Dallas, Astler striding down the wing, playing Connolly on, who took the ball to the byline, swinging in a sumptuous cross for Steven O’Malley to head in across the Keeper. Astler twisted his knee in the build up, Seddon on. 2-0 at the break. Just coming up to 60 minutes Tommy Collins pulls up lame with a tight groin… A bit disjointed, but we were very much on top. It finishes 2-0.

Aidan Hamilton scores for Cork as they join us on the top of the table. Shamrock drop 3 points straight away, losing at home to Shelbourne.

Season Ticket sales up to 2,600, 115 more than last season.

We have a couple of the lads going to Waterford on loan for the season – Jim Collins & Martin Kenny.

And we had 5 players in the IPD Team of the Week.

18yo Adam Kelly (36 scout rating) has joined Derry City.

17th February 2026 – Longford (H) – Leinster Senior Cup 4th Rnd

FT Dundalk 3 (Kelly 24, 59, Burrows 29) Longford 1 (Cawley 68) Att 2,779 (60 Away)

We face newly-relegated Longford tonight in the Leinster Senior Cup. As expected its all Dundalk, but somehow they keep us out until the 24th minute – a smart Kelly finish from a beautiful Hanna through ball. Matty Burrows gets the 2nd 5 minutes later – a good header from a Duffy corner. 2-0 at the break. Jordan gets his second just before the hour – a good header from a Seddon free kick. A defensive rick lets Cawley in to make it 3-1 with 20 minutes left. It finished 3-1 – still need a bit of Cohesion back I think.

Fisrt UCL 1st Knockout Round games – Schalke with a great win over Juve. Leipzig and PSG in the balance.

Cork the only team with 2 wins after beating Shelbourne. Shamrock 1 point out of 6 and Derry 2 after their draw, Shamrock rescuing a point 4 minutes into stoppage time. Limerick hold St. Pat’s. Shamrock for us next in the President’s Cup.

All good for the English sides in the 2nd set of UCL 1st Knockout Round 1st Legs.

Never had this before…

We’ve had the League Cup 1st Round Draw.

Away to non-league Cockhill (Donegal).

20th February 2026 – Shamrock Rovers (H) – President’s Cup Final

FT Dundalk 1 (Duffy pen 71) Shamrock Rovers 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

We have a strong side out this evening for the Irish version of the Community Shield versus a Shamrock side who have not started their season well. They are without their best player, Andrew Moore, who is injured for a couple of weeks. And Shamrock start with some tired players. Dundalk on top early, just lacking a bit of quality. Plus The Shamrock Keeper has made some really smart saves. 0-0 at half time. 13 shots on target… The second half starts in the same vein, and it takes until the 71st minute for a (possible) breakthrough. Penalty Dundalk, Ngoy pushed in the box by McKiernan. Duffy takes… 1-0, Keeper goes the wrong way. We have absolutely battered them today, and only a penalty splits us. We finish 1-0 winners – another piece of silverware.

Finn Harps move into 3rd with a good point versus Waterford.

St. Pats and Athlone both knocked out by non-league teams in the Leinster Senior Cup 4th Round. Wexford get through a day later v Killester.

Vetle Dahl has gone out to Aalesund in the Norwegian First Division for the season.

Our U19’s beat Letterkenny 5-1 – goals from Chris McCabe, Brian Stapleton, Tommy Carlin, Tim Foulkes and Gerry O’Halloran.

We’ve had the Quarter Final draw for the Leinster Senior Cup.

Away to First Division Wexford.

Limerick get their first win of the season versus Finn Harps.

Milan with a big win versus Man Utd on the Tuesday night UCL 1st Round Knockouts – we travel to London for our 1st leg with Arsenal tomorrow.

25th Feb 2026 – Arsenal (ENG) (A) – UCL 1st Knockout Round 1st Leg

FT Arsenal 4 (Tal 34, 45+2, Pen 71, Carmo 53) Dundalk 0 Att 57,722 (311 Away)

Arsenal sit 3rd i the Premier League currently, and don’t lose too often. This will be tough – hoping we can get them back to Fortress Tallaght with a chance. That said, we’ve beaten Lazio twice, Dortmund and drawn with Barcelona and have strengthened. We need the big match boys to step up once again. 2 minutes, Tommy Collins injured – potential thigh injury. Bollocks. Jordan Kelly on. Pretty tight in the first 20 – Big Col with the best chance after great work by Duffy and Astler. Jenks hits the outside of the post with a free kick, and Arsenal hit the bar from a header as we get to 30 minutes. But Arsenal take the lead in the 34th minute, Tal with a great bit of solo play, though I would have liked the defenders to have done better. So nearly 1-1 just before the break. A lovely counter, Jenks with the final shot, somehow kept out by 22yo Brazilian Keeper Luiz Marconi. And we get sucker-punched just before half time – Tal again, this time a tap in as we fail to clear. Disappointing. 2-0 at the break. 3-0 in the 53rd minute, and its one of those retarded ones where the Keeper makes a great save, but just doesn’t go and get the ball – Carmo tapping in. Fuck. Off. Game. Penalty Arsenal, 71st minute, Williams flicked out a leg. 4-0, Tal, Hat-Trick. That’s how it finished. Too fast, too skillful.

Bayern turned over as well, Benfica are really good this save.

Looks like Jordan will be getting a bit more games time, with Matty, Tommy Carlin & David Behrenbeck all in the wings as well.

Shamrock need extra time to beat Sheriff Youth Club in the last Leinster Senior Cup 4th round game.

One of our U19’s, DC Stephen Boyle, is going to Bray Wanderers in the Summer.

More league action before we play tomorrow – Cork continuing their fine start to the season with a win in Derry. Jim Collins gets a couple for Waterford as they win in Limerick.

28th February 2028 – Finn Harps (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 2 (McShane 10, 45) Att 1,109 (356 Away)

We go to Donegal to face Finn Harps, back in the IPD after 1 season in 2024. A quiet start, but we take the lead in the 10th minute, a gorgeous cross by Neil Hanna picking out Colm McShane, who volleys home at the back post. And its a quiet half, McShane making it 2 just before the break, tapping in after Carlin’s shot was saved. 2-0 at the half. And the second half was quite subdued – Finn Harps going down to 10 with the last action of the game. 2-0.

Shamrock and St. Pat’s dropping more points. A strange start to the league season.

And with that the 1st of March dawns.

Quite a quiet month all told – An important league game versus Cork City and that 2nd leg versus Arsenal where we have nothing to lose. See you soon.

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